Episode of the TV series 'Your Hit Parade', originally aired December 4, 1954. All music in this program is 'Live', performed by the shows cast. Featured songs include "Papa Loves Mambo", "Teach Me Tonight", "Love Walked In", "If I Give My Heart to You", "This Ole House", "Mr Sandman" and more.
August 25, 2008
Your Hit Parade was a popular American radio and television program, sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes and broadcast from 1935 to 1955 on radio, and 1950 to 1959 on television. During this 24-year run, the show had 19 orchestra leaders and 52 singers or groups.
Each Saturday evening, the program offered the most popular and bestselling songs of the week. The earliest format involved a presentation of the top 15 songs. Later, a countdown with fanfares led to the top three finalists, with the number one song for the finale. Occasional performances of standards and other favorite songs from the past were known as "Lucky Strike Extras."
Listeners were informed that the "Your Hit Parade survey checks the best sellers on sheet music and phonograph records, the songs most heard on the air and most played on the automatic coin machines, an accurate, authentic tabulation of America's taste in popular music." However, the exact procedure of this "authentic tabulation" remained a secret. Some believe song choices were often arbitrary due to various performance and production factors. The show's ad agencies --initially Lord and Thomas and later Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborne -- never revealed the specific sources or the methods that were used to determine top hits.
André Baruch continued as the announcer when the program arrived on NBC television in 1950, written by William H. Nichols, and produced, in its first years, by both Dan Lounsbery and Ted Fetter. Norman Jewison and Clark Jones (nominated for a 1955 Emmy Award) directed with associate director Bill Colleran. Tony Charmoli won a 1956 Emmy for his choreography, and the show's other dance directors were Peter Gennaro (1958-59) and Ernie Flatt (uncredited). Paul Barnes won an Emmy in 1957 for his art direction. In 1953, the show won a Peabody Award "for consistent good taste, technical perfection and unerring choice of performers."
The seven top-rated songs of the week were presented in elaborate TV production numbers requiring constant set and costume changes. However, because the top songs sometimes stayed on the charts for many weeks, it was necessary to continually find ways of devising a new and different production number of the same song week after week.
On the TV series, vocalists Dorothy Collins (1950-59), Russell Arms (1952-57), Snooky Lanson (1950-57) and Gisèle MacKenzie (1953-57) were top-billed during the show's peak years. During this time, MacKenzie had her own hit record in 1955 with "Hard to Get" which climbed to the #5 ranking in June 1955 and stayed on the charts for 16 weeks.
The line-up of the show's other singers included Eileen Wilson (1950-52), Sue Bennett (1951-52), June Valli (1952-53), Alan Copeland (1957-58), Jill Corey (1957-58), Johnny Desmond (1958-59), Virginia Gibson (1957-58), and Tommy Leonetti (1957-58). All were performers of standards, show tunes or big band numbers. Featured prominently were the Hit Parade dancers and the Hit Paraders, the program's choral singers, who sang the opening commercial jingle:
Be happy, go Lucky,
Be happy, go Lucky Strike
Be happy, go Lucky,
Go Lucky Strike today!
During the 1950-1951 season Bob Fosse appeared as a guest dancer on several episodes, with partner Mary Ann Niles. From 1950 until 1957, the orchestra was led by well-known bandleader and musician Raymond Scott (who married Dorothy Collins in 1952), and the show's other music supervisor was Harry Sosnik (1958-59) with Dick Jacobs, who was an uncredited music director (1957-58).
The show faded with the rise of rock and roll when the performance became more important than the song. It is said that big band singer Snooky Lanson's weekly attempts to perform Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog" hit in 1956 hastened the end of the series. The series went from NBC (which, there, would become the first TV show ever to contain the living color peacock) to CBS in 1958 and expired the following year. While Your Hit Parade was unable to deal with the rock music revolution, the show's imaginative production concepts had an obvious influence on the wave of music videos that began in the decade that followed
CBS also brought it back for a brief summer revival in 1974. That version featured Kelly Garrett, Sheralee and Chuck Woolery. The 1974 version of Your Hit Parade also featured hit songs from a designated week in the 1940s or 1950s. Milton DeLugg conducted the orchestra and Chuck Barris packaged this series.
The show's familiar closing theme was "So Long for A While":
So long for a while.
That's all the songs for a while.
So long to Your Hit Parade,
And the songs that you picked to be played.